For as long as Asians have been here in America, we've felt lost...caught between two worlds...asking ourselves, "Who are we?", "Where do we fit in?", "Am I Asian...or am I American?", or "What does it really MEAN to be Asian-American?" I say we stop asking the question... and start ANSWERING IT. This is why I started my Pan-Asian Arts organization "Rama" (www.gostudiorama.com) and why I am involved in MOSAIC. Enough feeling lost or confused. Time to get together, feel good, make some art, and have some fun. As June Jordan said, "WE are the ones we've been waiting for"...
Lauren Miya Hendrick
Since a young age I have been exposed to Asian American culture without even knowing it. My closest friends growing up were Asian and I was lucky to be able to eat homemade Chinese food, learn Japanese phrases, and be taught Korean history from the parents of my friends everyday after school. Being primarily of European descent, I was actually the minority of my friends and learned through them the struggles and strengths of being Asian American. Someone asked me when I was younger "Why are you hanging out with the Asian kids? You're not Asian. You're white." I remember thinking, "I'm different? But these are my friends...why does this matter?" After this, I starting noticing the many stereotypes and stress involved with being both Asian and American. More importantly, I realized that we need to start appreciating people for who they REALLY are and how beautiful it is to be of a diverse background. We should be embracing this not questioning it or stereotyping it.
This is why I am proud to be a part of MOSAIC. MOSAIC celebrates and promotes the talents, backgrounds, and personalities of our community. So let's all get together and remember how amazing and diverse we all are and how much we have to offer. Eat, drink, dance, and be merry!
Having lived in and grown up in Orange County my entire life, I’ve easily been exposed to my “Asian roots” through my parents and friends. It’s always been very natural for me to be comfortable with my ethnicity, having volunteered for Asian community events in the past. However I never really grasped that there were others who could feel the exact opposite until recently.
That’s why AHSC’s Artist Preview Show specifically attracted me since this is an event where a talented group of Asian-Americans, who are comfortable and prideful of their individual cultures, can showcase their diverse skills. I love the idea of showing everyone that Asians are not just the stereotypical nerds who play piano, do math, and play videogames all day. It’s time to show the rest of the community our potential and I’m excited to be a part of it.
Born and raised in Sacramento, CA in a primarily Caucasian-inhabited neighborhood, I had lived an almost entirely American lifestyle for most of my childhood. "Diversity" was never fully understood, and I had always felt an unsettled dissonance with my own sense of identity. What did it mean to be Asian? I never knew. I had always assumed the role of "Asian-American," but was never fully assimilated with the Asian layer of my identity. It wasn't until I came to college did I realize the full extent to which "diversity" had an impact on my understanding of myself in relation to the rest of the community -- to other Asians, to other races, and to the slurry of racial groups as a whole. Being exposed to the multitude of racial identities and immersing myself into various culture-specific organizations and events has and continues to allow me to appreciate the multifaceted layers that make me...me.
I am not just Asian, and I am not just American, either. I am here, excited to be a part of this culmination of Asian-Americanness so that I can further help our movement to find a place in our society...to appreciate ourselves as being uniquely ourselves and to find peace in the welcoming of all racial blends!
Growing up in the Bay Area provided me with an intimate insight into Asian culture. I took these surroundings for granted until college where I began to realize that not everyone experienced a tightly connected Asian-American community. I feel blessed that I was able to grow up in a diverse area that provided me with many opportunities to immerse myself in all aspects of my Asian culture. I also realized that this unique environment was a direct result of hard working individuals determined to carve a place where those growing up in the US can find and understand their roots. Mosaic is an opportunity for me to begin giving back to an amazing community that made it easy for me to grow up proud of my heritage.